John Terry yesterday signalled his intention to cash in on his status as England's World Cup captain next summer by authorising a rather blatant speculative mass email offering himself up for commercial deals.
The Independent has seen the email sent by the marketing company Riviera Entertainment which bizarrely was also sent to a number of major football agencies, none of whom have any connection with Terry. The email has become the talk of football for its less than discreet approach to marketing the England captain, who earns around £170,000-a-week for Chelsea.
With "Want John Terry to endorse your brand?" in the email subject field, Riviera claim that Terry is, among other things, a "British sporting hero", "Dad of the year 2008" and "Voted as one of the World's most influencial [sic] people". It does not specify in which poll.
Riviera said: "If you are looking for a fresh approach for your brand during the time leading up to the World Cup, or feel it would benefit from being associated with a leader – especially relevant in today's ultra-competitive marketplace – then why not let the nation's football captain help get your message across."
Steve Parks of Riviera Entertainment denied that the email looked desperate and said that there was a plan in place to secure Terry some major brand endorsements. Parks said that the Chelsea captain, who recently split with long-term agent Aaron Lincoln, was Riviera's only current client. The company, based in Enfield, have been in existence for four months.
"We are taking care of John's commercial deals before the World Cup," Parks told The Independent. "We have got an ideal target of who he is going to endorse. I am not sure what that's got to do with you."
Unfortunately the Terry email has echoes of the famous Michael Owen brochure which was distributed to clubs by his agents, the Wasserman Group, when the former England striker was out of contract with Newcastle in the summer. Although the brochure was created with the best of intentions, it backfired when the publication was leaked to the press because it made Owen look like he was desperate. Yesterday, marketing experts drew much the same conclusion about the Terry email.
The marketing guru and Chelsea fan Mark Borkowski said that speculative emails touting for celebrity endorsements was not the way to go about marketing an England football captain. "If you are emailing it feels like you are falling into a trap: it makes him [Terry] too available and accessible," Borkowski said. "It's a very lazy and uncool way of marketing someone whose value could rocket this summer."
Terry had an endorsement contract with King of Shaves in the past but his only current deal is with boot sponsors Umbro. Compared to his predecessor as England captain, David Beckham, Terry has proved less popular with blue-chip sponsors. Wayne Rooney, for instance, has been marketed with a collection of high-end brands, including Coca Cola, Nike and EA Sports.